Former Rep. Aaron SchockAaron Jon SchockNew co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials Former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay Now that Aaron Schock is 'out,' he can be a powerful LGBTQ ally MORE (R-Ill.) came out as gay in an Instagram post Thursday, five years after leaving office under a cloud of controversy.

Schock posted a public statement confirming his sexual orientation and saying he spent the past year telling his mother, father, siblings and closest friends before going public. 

“I am gay,” he said. “For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise.”

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“The fact that I am gay is just one of those things in my life in need of explicit affirmation, to remove any doubt and to finally validate who I am as a person,” he posted. “In many ways I regret the time wasted in not having done so sooner.”

The former representative detailed his struggles coming out to his family after growing up as part of a faith community in the rural Midwest. He said he did not come out during his time in Congress out of fear that it would “not go over well” with voters. 

“I also in retrospect realize that I was just looking for more excuses to buy time and avoid being the person I’ve always been,” he said.

Schock, who faced two dozen charges of misusing federal funds, including for remodeling his House office, resigned from office in 2015.

The representative alleged that during the proceedings, prosecutors “weaponized questions about my personal life and used innuendo in an attempt to cast me as a person of deceptive habits and questionable character.” The charges, which he labels as “false,” were dropped last year. 

“It was ironic and painful; just as I was finally ready to come out of the closet, it felt as though someone had locked the door,” he said.

Schock was indicted in November 2016 on the charges after a Washington Post report on his redecorated office led to ethics investigations.

Speculation arose on his sexual orientation throughout the court proceedings. His lawyers asked for the case’s dismissal alleging misconduct when prosecutors asked witnesses whether he was gay and whether his relationship with an ex-girlfriend was legitimate.

The Justice Department said in a statement in 2016 that Schock participated in a ”scheme to defraud the government, his campaign committees, and others for his direct personal benefit and for the benefit of others."